Buffalo’s school leaders must do much better job

Parents have been trying for years to get the Buffalo school superintendent and administration to understand that there is a difference between “discuss and review” after their plans have already been developed, and “involving” parents as equal partners from the beginning of the planning process. “Discuss and review” after plans are already fully developed sends the message that the district wants only to satisfy New York State requirements but is not really interested in parent involvement in the actual planning and decision-making processes. Parents don’t want a paternalistic relationship with the district. They don’t want a district that imposes its will and then asks for a cursory “discuss and review” so it can get a parent signature when the plan has to be delivered to State Ed the next day.

Believe it or not, parents are pretty smart about their children, about the environment they live in, about their culture, about how they learn, about their challenges, strengths hopes and dreams. It’s time Buffalo’s administrators learned the lesson. Parents do have something to teach.

If deadlines are tight and the district has to get a plan into State Ed quickly, then I’d suggest it start earlier. Good planning requires time, input from all stakeholders, thoughtful dialogue, concrete goals, assignment of responsibilities, follow-up and results. Be proactive, not reactive. Every effective organization knows this. Enough said!

Helene H. Kramer